Greyhounds: From the Track to the Killing Floor?

  • Date: January 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Greyhounds, one of the most recognizable and beloved of all dog breeds, have long been associated with a rich cultural heritage. For centuries, these majestic creatures have been celebrated for their speed, intelligence, and loyalty. However, beneath the glossy veneer of these noble animals lies a darker side – the cruel and inhumane world of commercial greyhound racing. Every year, thousands of greyhounds are bred, trained, and raced for profit, only to be discarded and euthanized when their racing days are over. This tragic reality is the focus of the documentary “From the Track to the Killing Floor”, which tells the heartbreaking story of these animals’ plight. Through interviews with former greyhound racers, rescuers, and activists, the film shines a light on the harsh realities of the greyhound racing industry, and the desperate need for reform.

Introduction

Greyhounds, with their sleek and slender build, are considered one of the most majestic of the canine breeds. As an ancient breed, Greyhounds have been used for centuries for hunting and racing. In the US, Greyhounds have been used for racing since the 1920s. There are currently around 20,000 registered Greyhounds in the US and tens of thousands more in other countries around the world. Unfortunately, despite their long history and iconic status, Greyhounds have also become victims of some of the most inhumane and cruel practices in the racing industry. Greyhounds are subjected to a life of confinement and inhumane treatment while on the track and, once they are no longer profitable, they are often killed or abandoned. This article will explore the dark side of the Greyhound racing industry and the plight of these animals.

History of Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing has been around since the 19th century and the first recorded race is believed to have taken place in 1876 in Hendon, England. In the United States, the first track opened in Emeryville, California in 1919. By the mid-1920s, there were an estimated 100 tracks across the country. By the mid-1980s, the industry had reached its peak with over 300 tracks in operation. However, as public opinion began to turn against the sport, the number of tracks began to decline. Today, there are only around 20 tracks operating in the US, with the remaining tracks located in other countries.

The Life of a Greyhound on the Track

Greyhounds are bred specifically for racing and typically live on the track from the time they are puppies until they are retired. During this time, they are confined to small, barren cages and fed a low-quality diet. Racing Greyhounds are injected with anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, which can cause health problems and even death. The dogs are also subjected to extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat and cold, and are often kept in unsanitary conditions.

In addition to the inhumane conditions, Greyhounds are forced to race in order to make their owners money. The dogs are made to race until they are no longer profitable, which can be as early as 2 years old. Greyhounds are forced to race at speeds of up to 45 mph, which can be dangerous and even deadly for the dogs. According to the Grey2K USA Worldwide organization, an estimated 20,000 Greyhounds are injured every year while racing.

The Killing Floor

Once a Greyhound is no longer profitable, they are often sent to the “killing floor”. The killing floor is a term used to describe the facilities where Greyhounds are killed or abandoned when they are no longer profitable. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an estimated 10,000 Greyhounds are killed every year in the US alone. These dogs are often killed inhumanely by electrocution or lethal injection, or simply abandoned to fend for themselves.

The fate of Greyhounds who are not killed or abandoned is also bleak. Greyhounds who are sold to new owners are often sold to laboratories for use in medical testing. Greyhounds are often used in painful experiments, and many of them die as a result. The ASPCA estimates that an additional 10,000 Greyhounds are sold to laboratories each year.

Adoption Programs

Fortunately, there are organizations that are working to rescue and rehome retired Greyhounds. Greyhound adoption programs provide a safe and loving home for retired racing Greyhounds. These organizations also provide medical care, training, and other services to ensure that the Greyhounds are well-adjusted and ready for a new home. Greyhound adoption programs have been a great success, with an estimated 10,000 Greyhounds being adopted each year.

Conclusion

Greyhounds have been used for racing for centuries, but the dark side of the industry is one that is often overlooked. Greyhounds are subjected to a life of confinement and inhumane treatment while on the track and, once they are no longer profitable, they are often killed or abandoned. Fortunately, there are organizations that are working to rescue and rehome retired Greyhounds, providing them with a safe and loving home. By supporting organizations that are working to end the cruelty of the Greyhound racing industry, we can help ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Common Myths About Greyhounds From the Track to the Killing Floor

Despite the fact that greyhound racing is no longer a legal activity in many countries, there are still a number of misconceptions about the sport that continue to circulate. Here we debunk some of the most common myths about greyhounds from the track to the killing floor.

Myth 1: Greyhounds Used for Racing are Inhumanely Treated

Contrary to what some may believe, greyhounds used for racing are not mistreated and actually often receive better treatment than other dogs. Greyhounds are kept in comfortable and clean kennels, and they are given plenty of exercise and attention. In addition, they are regularly seen by veterinarians and receive the necessary medical care they need.

Myth 2: Greyhounds Suffer From Injuries on the Track

Greyhounds are actually the safest and most injury-free breed of racing dogs, due to their gentle, low-impact running style. While injuries can and do occur, they are typically minor and treated quickly. In addition, many tracks employ veterinarians who monitor the dogs’ health and provide immediate care if necessary.

Myth 3: Greyhounds are Put Down After Racing

In reality, the vast majority of retired greyhounds are adopted into loving homes. Many racing organizations have established adoption programs to help place retired greyhounds in new homes, and the vast majority of these dogs have the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in a safe and loving environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Greyhound Racing?

Greyhound racing is a sport in which greyhounds are raced around a track in pursuit of an artificial hare or rabbit. It is a popular form of gambling and entertainment in many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

What is the Fate of Retired Racing Greyhounds?

Unfortunately, despite efforts from animal welfare organizations to re-home retired racing greyhounds, many of these dogs end up in shelters or worse, on the killing floor. It is estimated that, in the US alone, over 15,000 greyhounds are killed each year due to overbreeding and a lack of suitable homes.

Conclusion

Greyhounds have been used for centuries for hunting and racing and are currently estimated to have around 20,000 registered in the US. However, the inhumane practices in the racing industry have made them victims of cruel treatment and abandonment. Greyhounds are confined to small, barren cages, injected with performance-enhancing drugs, and forced to race until they are no longer profitable. An estimated 10,000 Greyhounds are killed or sold to laboratories each year. Fortunately, organizations such as Grey2K USA and the ASPCA are working to rescue and rehome retired Greyhounds and provide them with a safe and loving home. By supporting these organizations, we can help ensure that Greyhounds are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

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